Twitter Gets Ready To Launch Ads

When I think of Twitter, the last thing I think of is advertising—at least in the sense of banners, pop-ups, sponsored links, etc. I figured the only advertising one would benefit from on Twitter would be that of sending out tweets promoting their new products or services.

However, it seems that Twitter will start allowing bigtime advertisers to use APIs for their advertising campaigns. Speculation indicates that the ad system will work in two ways:

  1. Promoted tweets – An advertiser can search for any tweet on Twitter and sponsor it. After paying the advertising dollars, an ad is placed alongside that tweet and sent out to the world.
  2. Promoted accounts – An advertiser has the option of promoting its own account to users. This may be accomplished by linking advertisers to users that tweet contend related to the company’s products or services. This, in turn would allow a user to be presented with a new account to follow that will likely be of some interest to the user.

Twitter says the details haven’t been completely hammered out, but they intend on increasing ad revenue which is currently expected to reach $150 million this year. While Twitter only has about 200 million registered users, Facebook has over 600 million and expects to rake in $4 billion in ad revenue this year!

While it’s tempting for the five-year old Twitter to do everything in its power to increase revenue, some say that bombarding users with ads, especially useless ads, will cause a decrease in user interaction and/or user decline.

Part of the problem could end up being how ads are generated, delivered and received throughout the process. Unlike the traditional methods of advertising that are used by Google and Facebook, Twitter ads would have to utilize a different system altogether if it is to succeed. This is because most people don’t sit on Twitter and navigate from page to page like they can on Facebook.

Mobile viewers are now delivering tweets directly to phones just as if they were standard text messages. Ads would have to be tailored to fit this medium and more importantly prove to be effective.

My two cents

I’ve never been a fan of advertising, but I am a realist…none of us would know about anything that we know about if someone, somewhere didn’t see an ad for it or read about it. With that said, I’m willing to view ads as long as they are relevant and make sense to me. My concern with Twitter is the fact that MANY of those 200 million users are spammers, so what will be put in place to stop them from shotgunning lame ads to the whole community?

I probably shouldn’t assume anything until the “details” are hammered out, but naturally, I start thinking about the downsides to all this advertising. Another question I have is will users have a choice in whether their tweets can become sponsored with ads? Or if not, does the person who tweeted that sponsored message get a cut of the revenue? I’m curious to see how all this will unfold!

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